Friday, August 17, 2007

Financial Check-Up

I've been procrastinating about making an appointment with my doctor for an annual physical. It's been at least 3 or 4 years since I had one, I think, and though my health is generally very good, there are some things I should keep an eye on because of hereditary tendencies. So getting the physical at least every 1 or 2 years is probably a good idea.

What about in terms of finances? Again, I feel like I'm in pretty healthy shape, but I've kind of been coasting along lately. I hadn't even peeked at my E*Trade portfolios in weeks, and when I get my 401k statements, I just quickly enter the month's transactions without really paying much attention to what's going on. So I should probably stop and do a financial check-up!

The investment portfolio review is something I've been meaning to do for a while. I'd just like to see how my various mutual funds and stocks are doing, and how my overall portfolio stacks up vs. the kind of recommended mix of investments for someone of my age. I don't know that doing this review would make me actually sell any of my holdings, but it might lead me to redirect my future 401k contributions.

Bank accounts: when I bought my condo last year, I closed out my online savings account, which had a higher interest rate than my other savings and money market accounts at Chase and E*Trade. Now that I have settled back into fairly normal spending patterns, I think it's time to look at shifting some money back into a higher-yield account, or, despite my wondering about the stock market in yesterday's post, maybe take some of my cash and put it into more mutual funds.

Home: I need to figure out what is up with my property taxes. There is supposed to be an abatement that kicks in that will lower my taxes quite a bit. It doesn't seem to have gone into effect yet, though I thought it would have happened by now. And I just got a letter from my mortgage lender saying they project my property taxes to increase next year and are therefore raising my escrow amount. I'm sure this will all get straightened out eventually, but I really don't want to have these higher housing costs every month! I guess I'll have to ask the developer and his lawyer what the status of the abatement is, as I haven't figured out a way to look that up online.

Taxes: One thing I already did this year was to adjust my withholding amount so I get a little more in each paycheck rather than letting the IRS keep it until next year's tax refund.

Miscellaneous: I really need to get around to doing things like making a will, making sure my parents have wills, and putting together a list of financial information with my dad, in case anything happens to him.

Health: And back to that physical, I really should schedule it! If I do have any health issues I want to be sure I am identifying and taking care of them, lest a serious illness cost me a fortune!


Anonymous said...

Setting net worth goals:

This has bothered me about your blog. IMVHO you should set annual savings goals. Maybe as a % of income?

The problem with setting net worth goals is that markets are volatile and as your holdings grow so will your $ amount volatility. You could have saved very prudently during a given year and wind up flat or slightly down.

Just a thought.

Madame X said...

Anon 12:58, that is a good point. I definitely can't control some aspects of my net worth. But when I come up with my goal, I always base it mostly on savings and make fairly conservative estimates of investment gains. And when I do a yearly recap of where I ended up vs. my goal, I try to break out how much of the increase was from savings and how much came from investment gains.

Anonymous said...

Kay--this is speaking as one who got burned, so to speak: GET YOUR '_blankity_blank_blank_ 'ANNUAL' PHYSICAL. Had I been getting this, I would be emotionally and financially healthier: there are issues that creep up which can be hard to identify on a day-by-day basis, but are easy to see in a lab report, a doctors evaluation, or hindsight. Trust me, you don't want to go the hindsight route :) You're health IS the most important thing you own, and arguably the only thing you wholly own. Don't neglect it. [off soap box] I love your blog, and it has definitely inspired me to get on the financial bandwagon.

Loonies And Sense said...

Good post. I agree that this is the sort of thing that should be formally planned, like a physical. Take the "I'll get to it soon" out of the equation.

I've tagged you in Moolanomy's MOMA Meme. Check out my blog at for details.


canadian sadie said...

Cervical cancer is the single most curable form of cancer, when caught early--i.e. through ANNUAL pelvic exams. Cervical cancer can be fatal if left undetected.

GET YOUR CHECKUP! It doesn't matter how healthy your finances are if you don't have your physical health.

p.s. I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

As a fellow 30-something who recently got the shock of her life when whe was diagnosed with uterine cancer I can't overstate the value of regular check ups. I'd always been lacsadasical about getting checkups but then I got one, and it's the only reason they caught it.

So go!! Sooner, rather than later.

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

Definitely get that physical! Think of it this way: A $20 co-pay now could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in a few years. (See the comment before mine!)

Madame X said...

Thanks everyone. Re. the comments on cervical and uterine cancer, I should clarify that I ALWAYS go to the gynecologist every year-- I think that is really important for women. So I'm at least keeping an eye on some potential medical problems, but I do need to have a more complete exam.